Life cycle assessment (LCA) of concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in tower configuration with and without thermal energy storage (TES)

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Gasa, Gemma
López-Román, Antón
Cabeza, Luisa F.Cabeza, Luisa F. - ORCID ID
Prieto, CristinaPrieto, Cristina - ORCID ID
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INTRODUCTION: The main objective of the present study is to compare the 30-year life cycle assessment of two concentrating solar power systems with tower configuration, one without thermal energy storage and the other with thermal energy storage, in order to assess their potential impact on the environment. To achieve this aim, common reference characteristics have been defined in order to allow the optimal comparison. The reference power considered for both technologies has been 110 MW and the "power cycle" (turbine, alternator and generator) and the "cooling system" are the same in both configuration. In general terms, the significant differences between both configurations are focused on the area of the solar field, and with it the number of heliostats, and on the storage of thermal energy by inorganic salts. Although it is true that concentrating solar power plant (CSP) in tower without thermal energy storage is not a current commercial configuration, it is very interesting to be able to compare the environmental impacts of both configurations when thermal energy storage is added to the solar plant. In addition, the study ends by assessing whether the environmental impact that is generated by adding thermal energy storage compensates with the improvement of its manageability, its dispatchability and its contribution to decarbonisation. METHOD: Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology that allows evaluating the environmental loads associated with a product, process or activity, identifying and quantifying the energy, the materials consumed and the waste released into the environment throughout the entire life cycle. The LCA included in this study is carried according to ISO 14040 and 14044. Thus, this LCA is based on the impact assessment method ReCiPe in impact points and GWP in kgCO2eq and the database used is Ecoivent 3.6, which has positioned itself as a world leader in creating more transparent life cycle impact databases. Moreover, this work encompasses three distinct phases of evaluation: manufacturing, operational, and end of life. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: At the time of submitting this abstract, the study is on its way.
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ENERSTOCK 2021, 15th International Conference on Energy Storage, June 9 – 11, 2021, Ljubljana, Slovenia